Farm becomes Peyton Place for pups

Farm becomes Peyton Place for pups By Bob Karolevitz Maggie, a six-month old golden retriever, is our replacement for Shawn, who has gone off to the Great Dog Kennel in the Sky.

Phyllis, of course, shed a bucketful of tears when Shawn, who was just 11, had to be euthanized because she was suffering severely from hip degeneration which golden retrievers apparently are heir to. (The veterinarian called the merciful act "heavenizing.")

We weren't going to get another dog right away. After all, Phyllis needed a little time to recover. But a phone call from Natasha Moser changed all that.

Maggie, the last of a litter, needed a good home; and forth-with we were heading down into Nebraska with the old pickup to get a new addition to our funny farm.

She (the dog, not Phyllis) didn't like the long trip in the strange vehicle, but we made it home without disaster, and Maggie was soon romping around the place like she'd always lived there.

She (the dog, not Phyllis) turned out to be a lovable pup, with huge paws and a curiosity which wouldn't quit. She was also a digger.

Before we knew it, she was on her way to China in fresh-dug holes in various places. There was no rhyme nor reason to the sites she selected for excavation. I was hoping she'd dig up a mole or two, but that obviously wasn't in her plan.

Then she discovered my old moon boots stored until next winter under a cabinet in the garage. Before long one of them was ripped to shreds. Pieces of insulation were everywhere. Maggie had a ball!

Hurriedly, we put everything chewable out of reach. "Oh, she's just a pup," Phyllis said to calm me down. "Besides that, you need a new pair of boots," she added, as she excused Maggie for her toothly transgression.

I accepted her reasoning (Phyllis's, not the dog's) just as I do with all the foibles of her mixed-bag of animals. Little did I know that the worst was yet to come.

I was minding my own business at the typewriter when Phyllis came into the office and casually announced: "I think Maggie's in heat."

That didn't sink in right away, until I remembered that we were permanently boarding daughter Jill's male Welsh Corgi who had never been fixed. It was too late!

Somehow the two amorous dogs managed the mating (the Corgi was half Maggie's size), and we could just imagine the weird-looking pups that would result.

Right away Phyllis called our veterinarian. She had been waiting for Maggie to get old enough to be spayed. This now, complicated the situation.

"She's a Catholic dog and can't have an abortion," I moaned. But it was quickly explained to me that animals were not part of the theological controversy. Maggie got her operation, and I got the bill.

Now she's back to digging, and the Corgi couldn't care less.

She (the dog, not Phyllis) is being trained to Sit, Come and Heel, while I get to pay for shots, vitamin-enriched munchies and new moon boots.

I wonder what will happen next. Was it llamas I heard Phyllis discussing on the phone the other day?

© 2000 Robert F. Karolevitz

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